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Royal Irish Clarke is Undisputed Leader of Melges 24 Worlds

2nd December 2016
Conor Clarke's Embarr IRL829 - 2016 Melges 24 World Championship - Miami - Day 3 Conor Clarke's Embarr IRL829 - 2016 Melges 24 World Championship - Miami - Day 3 Photo: Pierrick Contin

Undisputed leader at the Melges 24 World Championships his week in Florida is Royal Irish Yacht Embarr IRL829 (2-1-2): the entry skippered by Conor Clarke.

The good tactical calls, together with the amazing speed that the crew manages to reach in the downwind legs, is helping the Irish to maintain firmly the top of the ranking, leaving behind of 25 points its first follower, Maidollis 3 ITA822 (13-3-10), that after the good performances of the last two days, couldn't keep the same path also in the races of today.

Sailing with Royal Irish based Clarke is Aoife English, Maurice O'Connell and American Olympic 470 duo David Hughes and Stuart McNay, who finished fourth at the Rio Olympics.   See more details in the Irish Times sailing column here.

Yesterday started with another sparkling day of sailing for the Melges 24 fleet. A day of lighter breeze allowed three more races to the series and brought about major changes to the overall ranking.

The major changes in the ranking, though, happened starting from the following places of the ranking: Air Force 1/West Marine Rigging USA820 (12-10-1) by Bora Gulari climbed to the third position, also thanks to the bullet of race number nine, while New England Ropes USA658 (18-8-15), third after the races of yesterday, was pushed down in sixth position. The fourth place belongs now to Argo USA853 (5-5-13), that yesterday wasn't even inside the top five, while fifth position is occupied by Monsoon USA851 (10-4-5). Full Throttle USA849 (7-6-20) fifth after the races of yesterday, slipped in seventh position after the three latest regattas of the series.

In the Corinthian division, the boats of the top three remained the same, but their order changed completely: Decorum USA805 (16-22-12/4-4-2) of Megan Ratliff abandoned the top of the ranking in favor of the Italian crew Taki 4 ITA778 (3-16-6/2-2-1) of Marco Zammarchi that, after having been daily best in Corinthian also yesterday, eventually reached the leadership of the division, sailing consistently even if the light breeze conditions are not the favorite of this crew: "We are happy for the outcome of the last two days of racing here in Miami. Sailing for the Europeans in Hyeres had been great fun, but here it is totally another story. The fleet is competitive, numerous and fast and for us the attention to be paid is double, because we have to focus both on the overall ranking and on the Corinthian division" declared Niccolò Bertola, helmsman of Taki 4. "Our closest opponent, in this moment, is Tõnu Tõniste's Lenny EST790 (1-14-21/1-1-4), that is chasing for us with just 3 points of margin: we will keep being focused on the races, we know the Estonian crew has the potential to win again a Melges 24 World Championship in our division, so the success of today cannot distract us from our final purpose".

The PRO, Anderson Reggio, couldn't be but happy for the development of this Championship: "We've had three great days of sailing here in Miami: the first two days reflected the reasons why sailors love to come to Miami, that are the strong wind and great waves. Today conditions were trickier and definitely lighter, but I feel I could still say that the fleet had good fun. The crews are fighting hard in each moment of the regattas, as it is also evident from the starts, when it often happens to have OCS boats, but I think it's also good in this way, we're in a World Championship, it is legit they are pushing hard!". About the composition of the fleet, Anderson added: "I think this is one of the most exciting fleets to watch: it doesn't often happen to see boats so spread across the race course, almost occupying all the space we have at our disposal. I can't wait to see the development of the last two days of regatta".

For tomorrow, Race Day Four, an amendment to the sailing instructions has been published: no preparatory signal will be given before 1.00 pm and the intention of the Race Committee is to run just one race. Two races will be left for Saturday, closing day of this 2016 Melges 24 World Championship. Even if the path towards the victory seems in some way already drafted, the three remaining races could bring about unexpected changes in the ranking, especially in the Corinthian division, where the hypothetical composition of the podium is in continuous evolution.

Overall ranking - Top 5 (74 Boats)
1. Embarr, Melges 24, Conor Clarke , Dublin, IRL, 2 -1 -1 -3 -4 -[5] -2 -1 -2 ; 16
2. Maidollis 3, Melges 24, Gian Luca Perego , ARcore, ITA, 3 -5 -3 -9 -6 -2 -[13] -3 -10 ; 41
3. Air Force 1, Melges 24, Bora Gulari , Detroit, MI, USA, 1 -2 -2 -16 -5 -[26] -12 -10 -1 ; 49
4. ARGO, Melges 24, Jason Carroll , New York, NY, USA, 5 -3 -4 -13 -7 -[16] -5 -5 -13 ; 55
5. Monsoon, Melges 24, Bruce Ayres , Newport Beach, CA, USA, 10 -4 -13 -7 -3 -[20] -10 -4 -5 ; 56

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